We are excited that Wildflower Waratah 2019 will be available online and for tasting and take-away/collection at our cellar door from 12pm (Sydney time) on Friday 6 November 2020.
Waratah is our annual 100% NSW ingredient beer. Wholly native yeast (the culture for Waratah 2019 was foraged off hop flowers), Voyager Malt (Whitton, NSW) and Ryefield Hops (Bemboka, NSW). A collaboration between the hop farmers, grain farmers, maltsters and two breweries committed to agricultural beer, Batch Brewing Company and ourselves. Our release of the beer in 2017 year marked the first commercial release of a beer made entirely of NSW ingredients, the 2019 vintage marks the third. Small note, while both Amongst the Bines and Wattle Drops were both brewed with wholly native yeast and NSW grains, their hop bills included small measures of hops from outside the state.
I brewed this beer on 17 May 2019 using Schooner pale malt, Schooner vienna malt and malted wheat from Stu and Brad at Voyager Craft Malt using grain sourced from the Riverina. I hopped it in the kettle with both Saaz and Cascade whole flower dried hops from the small, but significant, 2019 harvest from Jade, Morgan and Karen at Ryefield Hops. Coincidentally, I assisted in the picking of these very hops in late February 2019 and used some of their neighbours to start a culture for both Amongst the Bines and this same beer. After wortmaking at Batch Brewing Co, we transferred it to Wildflower where it underwent primary fermentation in stainless for 5 days.
In a pretty neat little thing, the yeast culture we pitched and employed to commence and wholly conduct this fermentation was foraged from a neighbouring hop bine, with the other hops used to bitter the wort in the kettle. This was the first time we have been able to source yeast for a fermentation from one of the raw ingredients for Waratah. I love the simplicity and clarity of this process and I look forward to doing it more.
After primary fermentation, the beer was transferred into oak barrels where it aged for 14 months. In late July 2020 we blended a number of these barrels and bottled the cuvee for conditioning and refermentation until its release 14 weeks later. At bottling it was 5.5% ABV, 23 IBU and 0.4°P (FG= 1.002 SG).
At release, it has a familiar nose of marzipan and savoury oak to start. Candied orange citrus, toasted sourdough combine with hints of ripe lime/orange marmalade underneath. Structured palate, ripe stonefruit and pops of lime citrus. Vinous finish with decent length.
In many ways, Waratah epitomises our goals here at Wildflower. It is an agrarian beer, a product of the harvest conditions of each of the inputs. The recipe was built on what was grown here not on what we could order from international malthouses and hop fields.
It’s also a celebration of friendship, of the growth of an industry and the continuation of the good fight of buying, living and brewing local. Beer is a beverage made for social gatherings and to share with friends. It is not pretentious and coveted. We love beer's place in society and a beer like Waratah helps remind us that it is really just beer at the end of the day.
Like all our beers, Waratah is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).